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Powerful quake rattles Indonesia

A powerful and shallow earthquake struck on Wednesday off Indonesia’s Sumatra island, sending panicked residents rushing from their homes in a region hit hard by quakes and tsunamis in the past. Local authorities initially issued a tsunami warning but lifted it several hours later, and there were no immediate reports of casualties or damage. The 7.8 magnitude undersea quake struck at a depth of 24 kilometres at about 6:50 pm (1250 GMT), the US Geological Survey said. The epicentre was several hundred kilometres from the Mentawai Islands, a small chain southwest of the country’s main western island of Sumatra. The quake was felt strongly in Padang, a major city on western Sumatra, sparking panic. A journalist there said people ran from their homes and fled to higher ground by motorbike, car or on foot.
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